Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports

June 6, 2013

Bob Gwizdz: Catching bass in Saginaw Bay

SEBEWAING — High winds the previous night had turned the what-had-been gin clear water of Saginaw Bay into chocolate milk, so our plan — to run out to the islands and tray to beat up on the smallmouths — was out the window.

Not to worry, said Bill Horton. We’d just have to catch fish inside.

Even in the canals, however, the water was dark and milky. But as we worked our way back toward the back of a canal, it cleared up enough to make it worth fishing. It didn’t take long; Horton hit a fish on his fourth of fifth cast with a June-bug colored Brush Hog (a plastic worm with a couple of pair of extra appendages). The fish came out of the water and back down into a weed line, but Horton kept the pressure on and hauled the 2½-pound largemouth into the boat. Turned out it was the first of many.

Mention bass fishing and Saginaw Bay and everyone immediately assumes you’re talking about the eye-popping smallies that have made the Bay one of the state’s best bass fisheries. But the largemouths are none too shabby, either. By the time we left that canal — and headed to the next one — we’d but eight largemouths, all from two to three pounds, into the boat.

It’s no secret that a fair number Saginaw Bay largemouths pull into the cuts and canals in early spring. What many anglers don’t realize, Horton said, is that you can have good fishing targeting largemouth bass all season.

“They’re out there in two to four feet of water in the weeds and they’ll stay there all summer long,” said Horton, a 50-year-old autoworker and sometimes bass fishing guide. “Then in the fall, they’ll pull to the drop-off and stay there. But they never get any deeper than seven to nine feet.

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